I live in a constant state of guilt because of my status as a single Mum. I am so fearful that R will grow “wrong” because of the lack of a constant male influence in her life.
Yes – her father is “present” – he averages 28.7 hours a month contact with her.
Yes – I expose her to positive male role models in my friends – however they are all fathers to their own children, or living their own frenetic lives. They are men I trust implicitly, but they are not a constant.
She has her grandfather – her Pa – but he, like he was for me, appears distant from her – wanting different interaction with her than what I think she needs.
There’s the string of men that I am “auditioning” via Tinder – but let’s not kid ourselves – it isn’t exactly likely that my primary purpose with them is. To be honest, there was only one that I thought might be ok – and he’s got three of his own, plus a wife already. Troublesome really.
And what do I look for in these men?
I look for someone who is independent – who has a sense of themselves and is comfortable enough in their skin. Someone who has grown up – been an adult for a while – I think this is important because otherwise she will be surrounded by boys – by men who are either so emasculated by the world around them that they may as well be women or who aren’t reliable and constant enough for her to seek support from.
As my mother tells it, my father was absent for most of my early years. And then later, when I returned home she told me that he doesn’t talk to me much because he’s “afraid of me”. What a thing to tell a daughter.
But am I the product of that life? Do I find men both intriguing and frustrating because of my lack of experience with a strong, consistent role model? It seems that the men that I know are all still wrestling with who they are and where they fit in life. So then am I seeking something impossible that doesn’t exist?
And I suppose that brings me to what I am seeking for myself too. I have spent too long surrounded by boys – males who have relied on me to make the adult decisions and to facilitate their exploration of their world without having to be entirely responsible. I buy and pay for things. I manage bills and make the sensible choices. They flit around and change careers and activities as often as they change underwear. Meanwhile I get lost in building their ego – their life. I become a shadow. And I lose the idea of what it means to be a woman who is guided by a man.
I know that this is likely to be an unpopular opinion in this day of suffragettes and feminist propaganda. But I want a man. A real man who is not afraid to tell me what he wants – to expect certain behaviour and to be confident in their own sense of self. I’m tired of finding boys, still sleeping on the floor of their parents’ house while they “figure something out”. I just find that depressing and that it triggers my need to rescue and support.
I want R to know that she can be supported – or better yet that she can be part of a partnership – something equal.
The search will continue.